I had a wonderful time on Monday speaking to a group of women from northwestern Wisconsin at their annual retreat. I spoke for three 45-minute sessions on "Treasures of the Heart." It's one of my favorite subjects because I get to mix my love for trash to treasure decorating with my love for helping women see how much God loves them.
In the first session, I showed lots of trash to treasure decorating ideas (many of them from my trash to treasure website) on a power point presentation. Then in the next two sessions, I talked about how God can take our struggles, frustrations, and difficulties (our trash) and turn them into opportunities to bring him glory (treasure). It's part of helping women connect the dots by seeing how the delight we take from taking yard sale junk and turning it into beautiful art is just a tiny glimpse of the delight God takes in turning our emotional junk into something beautiful.
It might not happen overnight though. It involves a change in perspective. It means that we begin to see everything as an opportunity instead of wasted experience. I showed the women a plastic Wal-Mart bag that we'd normally consider as either junk, or a liner for our trash cans. But then I showed this flower.
I took several discarded store bags and cut them into strips. Then I wrapped the strips around a piece of cardboard, slipped the looped plastic off the cardboard, and tied a string around the middle of the loops. Then I cut the loops, just as I would if I was making a yarn pom pom. I attached the plastic puffball to a wire and wrapped the stem with floral tape to make it into a flower.
It's still plastic bag. But it's different. Now, the bag has become something that we can appreciate, something we might consider beautiful, even though it is made from the same material.
Our experiences might seem like junk. Abuse. Divorce. Depression. Losses. Teasing. Loneliness. It's all difficult. But when we begin to see that as the material that God uses to make something beautiful out of us, we begin to appreciate the role that our difficulties play in making us beautiful examples of the grace of God.
What "junk" do you wish you could see in a different way?